High school students aspiring to be entrepreneurs are encouraged to take part in the state’s Innovate WithIN competition.
Applications now are being accepted for the 2021 contest, a statewide initiative hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the STARTedUP Foundation. The program is open to all Indiana high school students.
“Innovate WithIN gets Hoosier students plugged in to Indiana’s thriving and engaged entrepreneurial community,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb. “This program fosters a pioneering spirit among our leaders of tomorrow, and every year I’m amazed by the innovative ideas these students pitch and the hard work they put into their business plans.”
Last year’s competition drew 152 online applications from 419 students at 50 high schools. The overall winners of the 2020 competition were Megan Jones, Joshua Breitsprecher and Abigale Haluska representing Hobart High School who created the Remedy Glove, a therapeutic glove equipped with vibration, compression, and heating features.
Innovate WithIN, now in its fourth year, gives students the opportunity to create their own business plans and showcase entrepreneurial ideas throughout the state. The overall winners each receive a $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, college scholarship award opportunities, internship opportunities and mentoring services.
Participants can work individually or in small groups to submit an idea for a business, product, service, or venture. Students will then receive feedback from experienced professionals while competing against like-minded youth from across Indiana through three rounds:
- Round One: Video pitch submissions due Feb. 28
- Round Two: Virtual regional pitch competitions hosted between April 19 and April 30
- Final Round: State pitch competition for regional finalists hosted in June
New this year, all participating students will have access to a brief, online companion course, and regional winners will participate in a virtual bootcamp to help students hone their ideas and prepare for their state pitch presentations. Regional winners will also receive guided counseling from the Indiana Small Business Development Center to help refine their business model and pitch, and receive no-cost market research.
“Our goal is to create a statewide ecosystem of support to help equip the next generation of entrepreneurs by encouraging students to see problems as opportunities,” said Don Wettrick, founder and CEO of STARTedUP. “It’s been amazing to see the variety of community and industry partners who have come together to assist the students as they bring their ideas to life.”
For additional information visit the Innovate WithIN website.